My eyes pop open every morning at 3 am, and I immediately check my email on my phone. I begin to obsess about the coming day, what crises could occur, and what I need to do to avoid them.
I even check the Customer Service email account and read all the complaints, questions from sales leads, or details that need to be changed before orders ship. Then I try to go back to sleep. Really.
As our company grows and new employees come on board, I’m busier than ever. Not only do I have to keep track of all my chores, but I’m also supposed to be on top of everyone else’s progress, too. I am the Problem-Solver-In-Chief. The Do-It-All-Queen.
I may be exhausted, but at least I’m not crazy. Here’s the checklist that helps me stay sane:
Take it one day at a time
This is not as easy as it sounds. As your company grows, it’s hard not to let the pressure get overwhelming. There’s a lot at stake, and your decisions seem to matter more than ever. Count to ten, and look at the process one day at a time. I fainted from stress the last time I didn’t. Don’t let that happen to you.
Find a mentor
Having someone to advise you in crucial moments is invaluable. Unfortunately, a really good mentor is hard to find, and there aren’t a lot of solid resources that pair mentors with small business owners. Get to know the folks in your industry by attending conferences, and don’t be afraid to ask around for mentors. Everyone needs to bounce ideas off of someone who doesn't have any ulterior motives.
Find an outlet
This was a tough lesson to learn. All-business-all-the-time is a recipe for burnout. Force yourself to take time off, and then find a sport, activity, or hobby that’s engaging enough to capture your attention and prevent you from thinking about your business. Otherwise, you run the risk of being a detriment to your business.
Revisit your role, and delegate
Doing a little bit of everything can add up to very little productivity. Take on the crucial, non-negotiable tasks--the ones that only you can do--and train someone else to do everything else you used to take care of. Focus on marketing or team building if that’s what you like to do, and leave the things you dread to someone you trust.
Find some time to network
Networking takes more time than you’d think, and it only works if you’re consistent. When your business starts taking off, it’s tough to find the amount of time you had before to build relationships with key people. But this is when networking becomes even more valuable-;once things start happening. So make time for it, and make it a priority.
If you’re too busy to listen, step back, and get inspired by like-minded people, your company will end up as the best kept secret that no one ever knew about. At some point, you have to let go. Re-group. Trust. Put the “Do not Disturb” sign on your door. And dive into carrying your business to the next step.
In 2007, MAYRA JIMENEZ and her husband founded The Orchid Boutique, which specializes in designer swimwear made in their native Colombia. Today, Orchid Boutique is a multimillion-dollar business. @mayra_j